NOTE: This post first appeared in the Roswell Daily Record. There are so many more anthologies out there I’d love to have mentioned but I only get so much column space in the newspaper for my monthly post!
It’s getting to be that time of year when my thoughts turn to anthologies. I love these collections of stories all gathered around one theme and one of my favorite aspects is the ability to sample new-to-me authors without making a huge investment in books I might not finish. The stories in an anthology are usually enough to tell me if I’m going to enjoy their style or not. I’ve found some of my favorite authors over the years by reading anthologies in various genres. Many anthologies are put together to benefit a worthy cause, which is an additional benefit, although some are purely for enhancing the discoverability of the authors involved, which is also a fine thing.
First up, I have a story in a fun scifi romance anthology, Supra Vellum. The whole point for us as authors was to write a spooky story for this season of the year and we had to include a scene with ominous mist or fog and at least one of the main characters in the romance had to be an ‘alien’ alien. I wrote Breaking the Alien Love Curse where the couple has to rush around finding the right ingredients to help prevent an otherworldly curse from killing them at dawn. It was fun to write and my male main character, although humanoid, has green scales and a tail. My first ever character with a tail! The story is set in my usual Sectors galactic civilization and while not connected to any of my other books, has a familiar setting. There are 31 authors in total, a list of many very recognizable SFR names and the charity is Native Justice Coalition’s LGBTQI+ and Two Spirit Program. AmazonKU
Coming out in early October [out now] is another favorite collection, the eighth annual Pets in Space. The concept here is that each story must feature an alien pet of some kind, who has to play an important role in the plot, not merely be ornamental. Of course there is a lot of scifi romance going on (not with the pet although one year an author wrote a memorable subplot into her story for the pet with a female of his own species). There are eleven exciting stories to choose from and the charity continues to be Hero-Dogs.org, the non-profit charity that provides trained service dogs for disabled U.S. veterans and first-responders. S. E. Smith, a New Times and USA Today Best Selling author is the headliner, along with many other well known SFR names. USA Today Best Selling Author Carol Van Natta is at the helm of this project and provides a great story as well. Imagination is the limit when it comes to creating alien pets! Amazon Apple Books Kobo
If the paranormal world is more to your reading taste, there’s Rejected by the Immortal, with thirty authors presenting tales about vampire kings finding their fated mates and the consequences which ensue. The stories are billed as “series starter novellas.” Amazon Apple Books Kobo
Enjoy forced proximity romances? The ones where there’s only one bed and the unwilling couple must share? An Autumn Embrace presents five such tales by well known authors “brimming with magic and mystery” as the blurb says. The benefitting organization is First Coast Romance Writers, an independent non-profit organization helping writers hone their craft and expand their knowledge of the publishing industry. Amazon Apple Books Kobo
Castle of Shadows provides nine fresh takes on a fairy tale-like romance, as envisioned by different authors who asked themselves these questions, per the blurb: “What fairy tales lurk in the dark? Are they good or evil? Who gets their happily ever after, the heroes or the villains?”
Transform the World offered fourteen ways to change the world in a scifi hopepunk anthology. The organizer of the collection challenged authors to “come up with innovative ways the world could work better. Universal basic income, smaller communities, AI voting, and learning to live in harmony with nature are just a few of the ideas explored inside these pages.” Who better than SF authors to tackle the challenges? Note this one isn’t in the romance genre. Amazon Apple Books Kobo
Love Is In the Air is an anthology with second chance romance at the core of each story and the twenty four authors provide “…stories of second chances at love and life as our heroes and heroines embark on life changing journeys, whether changing careers or moving half way across the globe. What second chance have you been longing for? These stories just might inspire you to go out there and grab it.” The anthology benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). My mother and her identical twin died from breast cancer so this is a cause close to my heart and I applaud the effort. AmazonKU
While we’re on the subject there was also Hopelessly Devoted: A Romance Anthology to Benefit Women’s Cancer Research, in which 23 authors came together to write stories inspired by a favorite movie musical. As the blurb says: “Grease inspired stories will have your mind rockin’ and reeling with second chances, friends to lovers, workplace romance, insta-love, shifters, and more. There’s something for everyone in this mixed sub-genre romance anthology.” I think it’s one of the most unique themes I’ve ever seen for a romance anthology. All services such as formatting were also donated to maximize the possible donation to the BCRF and also the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation. As you may recall, Olivia Newton-John, one of the stars of the movie ‘Grease’ passed away from breast cancer in 2022. Amazon Apple Books Kobo
Ten authors cast Autumn Spells for their timely anthology, featuring witches and magic and romance. Proceeds will go to Together We Rise, a non-profit organization to work for improving the lives of children in foster care and supporting innovation in the field. At least one of the stories ends in a cliffhanger, thus encouraging readers to go explore more of the author’s work. Reviews were highly favorable overall. AmazonKU
I’ll close with an unusual collection, Midnight in the Renaissance Elevator. Here is the original spark for the anthology’s theme: “At an LGBTQ literary retreat in October of 2022, a group of authors met a particularly cantankerous elevator. Doors slamming open or closed for no apparent reason? Check. Scary noises, also for no apparent reason? Also, check. Were we concerned for our lives? Okay, listen…This cranky elevator figured heavily into conversations for the next few days, many of which included expletives in a dozen languages, but eventually, it became a (somewhat) beloved mascot. Some people actually chose it over the other elevators! The resulting mayhem is over twenty-five different author takes on the underlying story behind the elevator’s peculiar behavior. Possession? Poltergeists? Personified mechanical objects? Vampires?” Proceeds from the book go to the Trevor Project, which provides crisis support services to LGBTQ youth. AmazonKU
A final point about anthologies – most are only available for a limited amount of time so if any of these caught your fancy, don’t delay in adding them to your e-reading device. (Most anthologies nowadays aren’t available in paperback due to the extremely large number of pages they would be in print.)
VS Note: Here are a couple more new anthologies which recently released, too late for inclusion in my RDR post but I have room here on the blog:
Ready for an offbeat trek across the galaxy? 3rd Earth Girl From the Sun is an eclectic collection of sci-fi romance stories from four eclectic indie authors. There’s plenty of adventure, suspense, mystery, horror, and pure camp to go around! Are you ready to explore an abandoned research ship? Solve a mystery in a cybernetic neon-lit future? Travel halfway across the galaxy to get your horse back? Or maybe just survive a first date in a small town? Proceeds will benefit PEN America, a nonprofit organization that works to defend and celebrate free expression in the United States and worldwide through the advancement of literature and human rights. AmazonKU
VS note: Hard cover only? Disney.
Edited by New York Times best-selling author, Elizabeth Lim, this Twisted Tale anthology features sixteen twisted short stories with new takes on fan-favorite Disney films. Swoon as Ariel and Eric meet right after the Little Mermaid saves her prince; join Tiana and Naveen on a race to get back to Maldonia; take a ride on a pirate space ship with Jim Hawkins; and uncover just what power Tinker Bell’s pixie dust holds. Amazon
Through darkness and light the magic will find them. Witches, Wizards, Shifters, Vampires, Angels, Demons, Hybrids, matchmaking cats, and other mythical creatures lie in wait between the pages of this limited edition collection of magical paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales. Fall for the charms of swoon-worthy book boyfriends and powerful leading ladies in these fantasy worlds filled with risky adventures, unexpected twists, and epic romances. Amazon Apple Books Kobo